Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Sweetie

This dress is the first thing I've made my daughter. It was one of her Christmas presents but she didn't quite fit until this last week.

I used a quilting cotton from Now I'm in agreement with most of you- quilting cotton should not be used for garments. But it's a baby so I got over it! I trimmed the dress with some lace that I had in my stash. I was initially going to make the organza overlay. However, the cheap synthetic organza I got was not behaving and the dress looked better without it so I omitted it.
I converted the zipper closure to a button band instead. For someone who spends much of the day sleeping and rolling around on the ground, a zipper just didn't seem too comfortable. I couldn't find much info on converting to a zipper closure out there so I did my own thing. If any of you are interested, let me know and I will do a tutorial in the future.
My daughter is a little over 3 months now. I'm not sure how much she is weighing these days. I made the size small for 13-18 lbs and it seems to fit her well with a little room to grow. It's long on her- almost to her ankles but looks like that what the style is meant to be.
This was a quick and easy dress to make. The bodice is lined which gives it a nice finish. I may use the pattern for another view in the future.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year, New Blog Look

You may have noticed that the old blog got a makeover! I've been wanting to do this for a long time but do not possess the skills to do anything close to what I envisioned. This was actually one of my Christmas presents. My lovely mother in law purchased this service for me after I had mentioned that I wanted to do something like this.
After reading a favorable review on Handmade Jane, I hooked up with Pish and Posh designs via Etsy. I went with the "Gold Package". For a small fee (compared to the amount of work put in), I received a whole new look for the blog including installation. Trina, the designer, and I emailed each other countless times back and forth. She took some very vague ideas of what I wanted (I'm no designer) and came up with a concept that I love. I'm particularly enamored with my custom social media icons to the right- aren't those adorbs? Trina was an absolute doll and never seemed to get annoyed with my questions or things that I wanted to change along the way. She has multiple packages available on Etsy so that you can get something for every need or price range. I highly recommend her service if, like me, you want to spruce things up but just don't know where to start!  
I'm totally a sewcialist now! So click on your favorite social sites on the right to hook up with me.
Another change worth mentioning is I've turned off comment moderation for posts less than 14 days old. I despise word verification so had turned that off a long time ago. However, I do get loads of spam comments that I need to screen out. I see that some of you double comment because you don't realize the moderation is on. Now that I've lifted moderation for the 14 day period, you will see your comment post right away and you won't need to deal with word verification. Double win!

Little Grey Dress

This is a project that's been in my to do pile for a while. I couldn't get excited about it because I was worried about being able to pull it off. It's more form fitting than I usually go for. In retrospect, my insecurities were very silly.
I made a mistake while sewing this but it turned out to be a happy mistake. I cut out view B which has the sleeves. However, the instructions for view A appear first. I was zoning out and totally followed the instructions for view A, making this into a sleeveless dress. I'm actually glad I did though. I think the sleeveless version has a more classy, sheath shape that I like.
I used a wool jersey for the shell and lined it with a tricot knit. I read many reviews before beginning and took note that many people omitted the lining and the zipper. I inserted both for a few reasons:
  • Although the wool content in the jersey is low, my sensitive skin still gets the itchies from it.
  • The jersey is on the thinner side so lining it gave the dress a more substantial weight.
  • In my opinion, lining a garment looks better than facing the edges, or hemming them.
  • Yes, it's a knit dress but if I didn't insert the zipper, I'm sure I would have popped the waistline stitches by trying to get it over my head and shoulders- especially since I ended up taking the sides in a bit.
I cut my typical one size smaller than the pattern recommends. The Big 4 always has too much ease in my opinion. As I sewed, I did some test fittings and ended up sewing a 7/8" seam allowance along the sides to eat up some more ease. I'm glad I did. It took the dress from being on the frumpy side, to body-con in no time.
The dress went together fast and easily! It's a great option if you need a new dress in a flash. The pleating along the waistline is great for camouflaging a bit of a tummy if you need.
My hubby's comment: "you look stunning"!  


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Albion

This was my husband's Christmas present and he finally agreed to model for the blog! We've been together for almost eleven years and I've sewn for him much less than that. The only other garment I've made for him to wear out is an ill fitting button down shirt. But he wore it and loved it! I've made him three pairs of pajama pants. And that's about it. I haven't sewn more for him for a couple of reasons. For one, he is a big and tall dude. He's about 6' 4" and it can be difficult to find clothes in the store to fit him, much less alter a pattern to fit. Secondly, there's only so many button down shirts and vests one can make a man if you look at what the Big 4 has to offer. Still, there is something special about sewing for the ones you love so I set out to make a jacket. I had planned to make Vogue 8842 a la Andrea's cameraman jacket. But I soon realized how much she had to change the pattern and was quickly discouraged.
Colette patterns then read my mind, knew exactly what I wanted, and released the Albion pattern just in enough time for me to make it for Christmas.
Although there are some harsh lows, the winter temperatures in this part of the world are on the milder side. I didn't think he would need a super insulated, heavy coat. So I went with a cotton twill shell and a flannel lining. It's just the right weight to cut the cool chill but not be too heavy. The cotton twill is not as formal as a wool coating but it better suits my husband's everyday style.
I was prepared to have to make several fitting changes but surprisingly, there wasn't much I had to do. Before he stumbled into the sewing studio one night and discovered what I was doing, I was trying to keep it a secret. I took one of his tall sized coats that I knew fit well and measured the pattern against the coat. The only place I was worried about fitting was the shoulder length. I lengthened the shoulder but later ended up cutting this back again after a fitting with my husband. I'm glad he discovered my secret because I was able to fit the jacket on him as I went. The one place I hadn't thought about being a problem was the arm circumference. My husband has large shoulders and biceps and the original armscye was a bit too small for him. I tapered out the seam allowance under the arm to almost nothing to give him a bit of extra room which at that point was about all I could do. He said it was enough to make it more comfortable. Other than that, the length and width of the pattern worked perfectly.
As for the construction, this went together relatively easy. The only part I think a beginner might have trouble with is sewing the inseam pockets. However, I know Colette Patterns is starting a sewalong which will be a great reference for tips and tricks and tutorials.
Speaking of the inseam pockets- they are huge! That is my husband's one complaint about the jacket. If he puts something in one of the side pockets, he has a difficult time finding it because they are so large and deep.
I have to admit, I was worried about my husband liking the end product. You never know if you are going to put in a lot of work into something, only to have the recipient not like what you have done. However, he truly loves his new jacket! He has worn it every day since receiving it. He has received several unsolicited compliments from people and is happy to show off my work.
I hope Colette Patterns continue to put out more patterns in their line for men. I am very happy that my husband has something made by me that suits him just right! I may later make him another version using a wool coating just so he has another style to go to.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Graphic Archer

First finished garment of 2014! I will spare you a full review as this is my second go at the Grainline Archer pattern. My chambray Archer has already seen plenty of wear. Often times I am waiting for it to come out of the dryer so I can put it on!
This version was made using a crepe de chine print from I love this geometric print. It reminds me of the 80's... but in a cool, modern way. And I loved sewing with this fabric. It feels so light and silky but is very easy to work with.